English dictionary

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English adjective: tough

1. tough not given to gentleness or sentimentality

SamplesA tough character.

Similarhard-bitten, hard-boiled, pugnacious, tough-minded, unsentimental

See alsohard, insensitive


2. tough very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution

SamplesA rugged competitive examination.
The rugged conditions of frontier life.
The competition was tough.
It's a tough life.
It was a tough job.


Similardifficult, hard


3. tough physically toughened

SamplesThe tough bottoms of his feet.


Similarcallous, calloused, enured, hardened, inured, thickened, weather-beaten

See alsoexperienced, experient, rugged, strong

Antonymsuntoughened, tender

4. tough substantially made or constructed

SamplesSturdy steel shelves.
Sturdy canvas.
A tough all-weather fabric.
Some plastics are as tough as metal.




5. tough violent and lawless

SamplesThe more ruffianly element.
Tough street gangs.




6. tough feeling physical discomfort or pain (`tough' is occasionally used colloquially for `bad')

SamplesMy throat feels bad.
She felt bad all over.
He was feeling tough after a restless night.



Domain usagecolloquialism

Antonymscomfortable, comfy

7. tough resistant to cutting or chewing

Similarcartilaginous, chewy, coriaceous, fibrous, fibrous, gristly, hempen, leathered, leatherlike, leathery, rubbery, sinewy, stringy, tough-skinned, unchewable

See alsoinedible, uneatable


8. tough unfortunate or hard to bear

SamplesHad hard luck.
A tough break.




9. tough making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe

SamplesA baffling problem.
I faced the knotty problem of what to have for breakfast.
A problematic situation at home.

Synonymsbaffling, elusive, knotty, problematic, problematical

Similardifficult, hard


English noun: tough

1. tough (person) someone who learned to fight in the streets rather than being formally trained in the sport of boxing

Synonymsstreet fighter

Broader (hypernym)battler, belligerent, combatant, fighter, scrapper

2. tough (person) an aggressive and violent young criminal

Synonymsgoon, hood, hoodlum, punk, strong-armer, thug, toughie

Broader (hypernym)criminal, crook, felon, malefactor, outlaw

Narrower (hyponym)bully

3. tough (person) a cruel and brutal fellow

Synonymsbully, hooligan, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, yob, yobbo, yobo

Broader (hypernym)aggressor, assailant, assaulter, attacker

Narrower (hyponym)bullyboy, muscle, muscleman, plug-ugly, skinhead, tough guy

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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